Five Sides of a Coin

Remarkably stylish and succinct, this 2003 video documentary by Paul Kell and Jana Ritter combines interviews, archival photos, performance footage, and crafty animation to survey hip-hop culture in all its staggering breadth. Kell and Ritter cover all facets of hip-hop—graffiti, breaking, DJing, emceeing, beatboxing—from their origins to their current incarnations, enlisting such important figures as Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, Rahzel, Prince Paul, Michael Franti, and even notorious gangsta rap critic C. Delores Tucker. Given the pervasiveness of hip-hop, I'm not sure who would need this kind of primer, but for historical perspective you could do a lot worse. 70 min.

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